15 December 2010

Quick notes about qualitative methods in Informatics

Pick the ethnomethodological tool that answers your questions best:

  • Interviews and observations (mainly), face to face > phone > online > email. Start with 3 broad questions and then get specific and dig each of them.
  • informal interactions ("hanging out")
  • participant observation
  • focus groups
  • collection of artifacts
  • content analysis
  • ...

Ethnomethodology is one approach of ethnography, it is oriented on accounts of people (conversation, text, video), has no theoretical stance and data collection lasts for a few hours rather than a few years. Hence do no say you are doing ethnography if it is only an observational study. The research topic should be framed to be interesting, not juicy (it is not journalism!). Use the past tense, but do not use metaphors.
Ethnography has quantitative ports but its goal is more about understanding people from their own point of view (and in general, it is hard to define categories for that). Subalterns are those not in the powerful culture. As they are not on the front scene, ethnography is very useful to get their opinion.

Beware of generalization, be conservative. Draw portraits of people, their everyday life and eventual exceptional events. Stop when you can build a solid argument from the data and/or when new participants do not seem to bring any new content. Data analysis has 2 phases:

  1. take notes
  2. identify patterns and outliers/exceptions (border-line cases define the border!)

30 November 2010

Local LambdaMOO on Windows

Instructions to set up the server:

  • Get WinMOO and extract it
  • Save the LambdaCore database in the WinMOO folder
  • Open command prompt (Start -> Run -> cmd), go to your WinMOO folder and enter:
    WinMOO.exe LambdaCore-latest.db LambdaCore-latest.db 23
  • Server should say LISTEN: #0 now listening on port 8888
  • To shut it down, ctrl+C

Connecting to the server:

  • Launch putty: hostname=, connection type=Telnet, port=23
  • Type connect wizard to log in as a wizard (= Game Master)
  • That's it. To say something, type say blablabla. help works as well. @create makes creating items with scripts possible.

14 November 2010

Scalability definitions and milestones


Scalability is a major technical focus for MMOG, but there are actually many different meanings and assumptions hidden behind the word. In general, Scalability is the capability of a software system to be adapted to meet new requirements of size and scope (Taylor et al. p467).

For system and network engineers, scalability can be achieved in two ways: horizontally (load balancing and clusters of multiple computing resources) or vertically (adding more power to a current computing resource). In both cases, if any of the layers of the stack (hardware, database, application and so on) does not scale, then the whole system won't.

For software engineers, a system scales well if its rate of growth is not greater than the corresponding rate of complexity increase (Taylor et al. p468-474). This definition looks a lot like positive scalability in system and network. However, software architecture scalability also deals with adding new components and takes into account the dependencies between components and connector logic.


To my mind, there are so many definitions of scalability that it makes more sense to talk about domain-specific metrics meaningful to the end-users and stakeholders. The number of users is a perfect example. So here is a list of situations illustrating different meanings of scalability with different numbers of users.

Configuration System/Example Scalability meaning
Scalability milestones reached so far
2 or more players sharing the same game world state Game development platforms such as Unity have quite hard times providing a transparent interface to sharing game world state. Each object in the world has to explicitly contain a Network View for it to be sent to other players. Being able to send all relevant game objects to other players without the hassle of having to add a networking layer on top of them.
From 40 to 100+ users in the same world Throughout 2009, Intel has worked on scaling OpenSim. They noticed that the number of users (as well as the number of object prims and scripts) were independent of the number of hardware threads available. This meant OpenSim could host no more than 100 clients, even if more resources were added. Scalability was achieved through an impressive cleaning and optimization work from both software and netsys engineering perspectives. Adding a server to the back-end means being able to handle more users (thanks to an inter-shard daemon mechanism of some sort). There is still a problem, though: if everyone goes on the same shard, the shard crashes. Sharding originally comes from the database community. It has been applied to the software architecture of military simulations in 1995: 1000 users can be supported simultaneously. Current MMOG architectures still cut their world in maps (shards) to be able to use this principle.
Inter-server events Cross-realm pick-up groups in WoW.
Opensim's hypergrid foreign user information stored locally and non-persistently on remote servers.
In this case, scalability sounds more like portability and data compatibility (as the number of users involved stays relatively small). Also, an extra layer of logic can be added: in WoW, experienced players can be grouped with novices so that cross-realm groups are more balanced. But ... on which server shard(s) are these instances stored and computed?
Cloud gaming (Gaikai or OnLive) Streaming video to computers that do not have enough graphics power to run the game themselves A pure example of horizontal scalability: more computers in the cloud means more users.
Scalability milestones not reached yet
1000 players seeing and interacting with each others Giant boss battles, live events, voting in Parliament 1) Clients must still be able to compute the graphics and 2) the server has to be able to cope with the sudden and unusual overload (dynamic resource re-allocation? Hybrid architectures mixing P2P and client-server?)
Cloud gaming for MMOG Cloud gaming NOT as a service on top of existing gaming infrastructures, but as a graphics help for weak clients of an MMOG Some MMOGs have high-end graphics. And there is always a server doing various computations. In the end, the overall architecture would approach something like: weak client <-> "middlebox" shared with a few other weak clients for the graphics <-> game logic server. But this naive method consumes a lot of resources and can certainly be optimized. It sounds a little bit like booster boxes.
10.000+ players seeing each other and interacting with some Stadiums, French demonstrations For the server, scalability means 1) being able to distinguish who can interact with who, 2) allocate resources dynamically (as these events are temporary and can be spontaneous) and 3) approximate distant actions and determine which clients share the same content locally so that some computations can be factorized. For the client, graphics might get demanding.

11 November 2010

Indie game developement and polishing

Video games are among the most complex softwares to design and implement. They deal with graphics, database, UI and so on. Yet programming them is very accessible: there are books, forums and frameworks for game programming in nearly any language. All recommend using rapid prototyping, and player-centric game design requires a design -> code -> test -> redesign loop as short as possible. After a few iterations in the loop, game development can get very messy if the code has not been organized into components. Software components are embodiments of the software engineering principles of encapsulation, abstraction and modularity (Taylor et al. p69). In other words, building a game from early prototype to end-product requires modularity (and therefore components). More generally, modularity is the key to adding and editing features in rapid prototyping and agile software development processes.

But looking at game repositories such as pygame, it seems the myriad of small projects it contains seem to pay no attention at all to modularity. I think they may have started all right, but as development progressed, the code got tangled without them noticing it. Locating themselves in the development process became more and more difficult. In the end, their project does not have any distinct component, they have three 500-line files named "main", "game" and "classes". Each of these files contains more or less the whole game and does not have any comment. The game is certainly working, but it is ugly and buggy and does not give a good experience to the player.

Braid is the opposite. It has been polished to provide a unique experience to the player. Images taken from the Gamasutra article about The Art Of Braid: Creating A Visual Identity For An Unusual Game.

Reknown game developers such as Chris Hecker ranted about unfinished games. Hecker gave the example of games (or rather game design proofs-of-concept?) developed in less than 20 hours. Cactus, the main indie developer targeted by Hecker, explained that his mentality was to make games available for others to be inspired by. Other indie developers of growing fame such as Mathew Galant disagreed cautiously: nobody can create a masterpiece without first making a hundred crude sketches, and It's better to get those ideas out there, even if they're flawed and incomplete!

I think there are very distinct categories of indie game developers: veterans, explorers and beginners. For veterans such as Hecker, agile processes promote sustainable development (taken from the Agile Manifesto). For explorers such as Cactus, agile is actually cowboy coding (not in a derogatory sense). For beginners, agile is a way to learn. Voluntarily or not, explorers and beginners do not pay attention to modularity. In my opinion, this is what sets apart veteran masterpieces from beginner and explorer trials.

21 October 2010

Differences between VW and MMOG

7 grad students met in a room and tried to grasp the differences between VW and MMOG.

We defined VW as massively multiuser virtual environments (MMVE). Examples: Second Life is a VW, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 is not. VW are free-form, open-ended, they allow more UGC than MMOG. In VW, UGC is expected and tools are given to users so that they can create content. In MMOG, new content comes from developer updates and expansions. Somehow, we managed to scratch the surface of the ludic-to-paidaic axis that Pearce talks about.

Then someone mentioned MineCraft. MineCraft has 2 different gameplay versions. In the "Classic" mode, players can only remove from or add to the world textured cubes of virtual matter. In the "Alpha" mode, monsters and zombies wander in the open world and players have health points (and can die). Hence, Classic would be a (sandbox) VW while the multiplayer Alpha would be considered an MMOG.

MMOG development studios want to provide the exact game they have playtested to their players. The virtual world is, somehow, protected: players are not allowed to modify it. Hence UGC is client-side only (eg UI add-ons for WoW). However, Game Masters can bring new and refreshing entertainment during live events such as summoning a demon in Stormwind, the Human capital city in WoW. While these events do not happen often in MMOG, they are inexistent in VW. Somehow, Game Masters could evolve into "dynamic" game designers, while traditional current game design would be considered "static".

20 October 2010

List of conferences and journals

Based on the ACM library and several links, here is a list of current conferences, workshops and journals dealing with games. It is not totally complete, but covers a wide spectrum: from software engineering, databases and networking (tech) to game design (GD), sociology and anthropology (soc), game studies and humanities (hum), and arts (art). Also, some acceptance rates have been collected by professors for the areas of computational intelligence, networking, software engineering and database.

NameFull nameRateDomainNotesSociety
DIMEADigital Interactive Media in Entertainment and Arts -tech2008, incorporated into ACE-
DISIODIstributed SImulation & Online gaming-techworkshopICST
FSEFoundations of Software Engineering18%techalso named SIGSOFTACM
GDCGame Developer Conference-tech|GDindustry-orientedGDC
GlobeInternational Conference on Data Management in Grid and P2P Systems-tech--
ICSEInternational Conference on Software Engineering14%tech-ACM/IEEE
IJCGTInternational Journal of Computer Games Technology-tech-Hindawi
IMSAAInternet Multimedia Systems Architecture and Applications-tech-IEEE
MMVEMassively Multiuser Virtual Environments-techworkshopACM
MMTAMultimedia Tools and Applications-tech2010, online journalSpringer
NetGamesNetGames40%tech2008, 2009, 2010ACM
NIMENetworking Issues in Multimedia Entertainment-techworkshopIEEE
NSDIUSENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design & Implementation19%techpart of SIGCOMMACM
OOPSLArenamed into SPLASH27%techsee SPLASHACM
P2PPeer-to-Peer (IEEE)20%tech2008, 2009IEEE
P2PNVEPeer-to-Peer Network Virtual Environments-tech2008, 2009-
NOSSDAVNetwork and Operating System Support for Digital Audio and Video37%techworkshop, paper listACM
SIGCOMMSpecial Interest Group on Data Communication10%techpaper listACM
SIGMMSIGMM conference on Multimedia systems17%tech-ACM
SIGMODSpecial Interest Group on Management Of Data20%tech-ACM
SPLASHSystems, Programming, Languages and Applications: Software for Humanity27%techused to be OOPSLAACM
TCIAIGTransactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games-tech-IEEE
TOMCAPTransactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications-tech-ACM
TOITTransactions on Internet Technology-tech-ACM
TOSEMTransactions on Software Engineering and Methodology-tech-ACM
VLDBVery Large DataBase-techarchivesACM
VRCAIVirtual-Reality Continuum and its Applications in Industry-tech-ACM
NameFull nameRateDomainNotesSociety
ACEAdvances in Computer Entertainment Technology-tech|socconference that gets published in CIE, EntCom and IJART
incorporates NetGames and DIMEA
2007, 2008, 2010
CIEComputers in Entertainment-tech|socjournal, paper listACM
CIGComputational intelligence and games49%tech2010IEEE
EntComEntertainment computing-tech|socjournalElsevier
FAGFun and Games36%tech|soc|GDbiannualACM
FDGFoundations for Digital Games FDG30%tech|soc|GDconference and workshop papersACM
GICGames Innovations Conference-tech|socpapersIEEE
IGICInternational Games Innovation Conferencetech|soc|GDIEEE
ITSInternet Technologies & Society-tech|soc-IADIS
VRVirtual Reality-tech|soc-IEEE
NameFull nameRateDomainNotesSociety
DiGRADigital Games Research Association-soc|hum|GDlibrary, biannual?DiGRA
EludamosEludamos, Journal for Computer Game Culture-soc|humonline journal, biannual-
FMFirst Monday-soconline journalself-pub
GACGames And Culture-soc|humonline journal, long review processSagePub
Game studiesthe international journal of computer game research-soc|GDonline journal, once or twice issues per year-
IJARTInternational Journal of Arts and Technology-art-Inderscience
JGVWJournal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds-soconline journalIntellect
JVWRJournal of Virtual World Research-soconline journalself-pub
LoadingLoading... the Journal of the Canadian Games Studies-soc|hum|GDonline journal-
SAGSimulation and Gaming-soconline journalSagePub

05 October 2010

[Conf] Notes from an NSF workshop about CGVW

This workshop focused on computer games and virtual worlds (CGVW) and gathered researchers in the STEM field and arts.

Notable positions

Some interesting points from position speakers.

Speaker Desc.
Boellstorff WoW is not overstudied, but there is a hype cycle. Making a distinction between computer games and virtual worlds. Impossible to research the future.
Hayes Learning is part problem solving (provided by current computer games) and part sociocultural (provided by multiuser virtual worlds).
Kesselman WoW is not revolutionary, it is just polish and history. Limited resources for many players is a bad game mechanic, it is frustrating.
Wright There are few social theories/framwework to explain why VW are so popular. It may be worth studying the impact of CGVW software on exclusion, relations between children and adults, cooperation and conflicts between players, and the reproduction of real-life social inequities in CGVW.
White Scripting languages can be used by professional game designers; in that case, it is pre-architected. If it is UGC, it is certainly buggy and possibly harmful. In some cases, the system limits the design (ex: 8bit consoles, Racing the Beam from Bogost) but in others, current designs do not yet use the full potential of the systems on which they are built (ex: augmented reality is still nascent).
Wardrip-Fruin Close-reading (in media studies) goes hand-in-hand with rapid and agile prototyping.

Working Groups

I found the 6 working groups to reflect well the domains currently implied in CGVW research. Here they are, taken from the workshop slides.

Title Desc.
Advanced GGVW Technologies AI, scripting, narrative and emergent systems, procedural and non-procedural content generation, avatar generation and customization, world building kits, etc.
Anthropological, Behavioral, Sociological Studies of CGVW ethnographic studies of CGVW, work-versus-play or work-as-play or play-as-work, patterns of migration across CGVW, CGVW in complex enterprise settings, research methods for studying CGVW,
CGVW for Science, Health, Environment, Energy, Defense CGVW as research tools or infrastructure for R&D in other scientific, industrial, or government domains, etc.
Education and Learning with CGVW how CGVW facilitate or inhibit learning in formal or informal education settings, play as learning, CGVW for STEM and Humanities learning, etc.
CGVW Systems Technologies multi-core and many core processors, computer graphics hardware and software, networking, databases, language design, sensors, etc.
Media, History, Culture and Art of CGVW CGVW as media, art, literature and expressive forms of social critique; new literacies, creativity with or through CGVW, etc.

17 September 2010

Open source MMOG and VW servers

Current MMOG clients are usually thick clients. Hence, programmers just need to emulate the server side of an MMOG. Here are several projects that could be worth looking at.

MMOG Project name Active since Programing language(s) Client Particularities
EverQuest EQclassic (no public sources) Early 2009 C++ Based on EQ Trilogy (second expansion) From scratch
EQEmulator (SVN) August 2003 C++ Latest EQ client The EQEmu test server is one of the biggest private servers
EverQuest 2 EQ2Emulator (SVN) July 2007 C++ ? -
Lineage 2 L2Jserver (SVN) June 2004 Java ? -
Ragnarök Online eAthena (SVN) 2003 C Latest official or custom-hacked (XRAY) RO client -
Helios Emu (SVN) June 2006 Delphi ? inactive?
- Red Dwarf (SVN) 2007 Java ? Forked in February 2010 from Project Darkstar, originally from SUN
Ryzom Ryzom Core (SVN) at least 2004 C++ both client and server became open source in May 2010
Second Life Open Sim (Sources, SVN, forge) 2007? C# Latest SL viewer? allows many different viewers, hypergrid, IBM collaboration
Star Wars Galaxy SWGEmu (SVN) December 2007 C++ ? -
Ultima Online UOX3 (packs) October 1997 (inactive now) C++ ? many forkings
World of Warcraft Arcemu (SVN) June 2008 Lua and C++ Latest WoW client? both branched from AscentEmu, but I can not find its source code
Mangos (SVN) September 2005 C and C++ Latest WoW client?

13 September 2010

Ethnographic play on a 25-rate RO private server

I wanted to play RO for some days. Something quick, but not too easy, and with not too many people to have to talk to while leveling. Kind of a nostalgic try. So I picked a private server which drop and XP rates are 25. That means killing a monster brings 25 times more XP to the avatar than on the official servers, and a 1% chance to drop an item becomes 25% on this server. I conducted an «ethnographic» play: based on my (relatively extended) knowledge of the game I analyzed the server through player avatars in the game but also on the control panel of the website. I found the private server on ratemyserver.net (RMS), but I will not write its name here so that nothing bad happens to its administrator. Launching a private server is an illegal activity after all.


At 3pm on Friday, the control panel showed 2 players were connected: T an Assassin and J a Hunter, both around level 80. These are the most solo classes of the game. When I logged in, it was not long before T arrived and, without a word, sent me an invitation to join guild G1, which he was the guild master of. I accepted, and saw in the guild panel that J the Hunter was also in the guild. Three days later, on Sunday night, there were 9 players connected on the server at 7pm. Among them, 4 belonged to guild G1, 2 to guild G2, 2 were not in a guild and 1 was an AFK merchant, used as a mule selling items to other players.

As mentioned before, the guild master of guild G1 was T, an Assassin. He had spent the last 2 days camping equipment on a low-level randomly-appearing monster called Ghostring. He had reached level 98 and had not made any other character. He was very confident and experienced in the game, and gave advice to the other 2 players he had recently recruited in his guild. IRL he was a 19-year-old jobless American. He started playing RO in 2007, had played on iRO Loki (official international server) and 5 other (much more populated) private servers, ranging from 6 to very high rates.
The sub Guild Master was J, the Hunter. He had actually played a lot and was now a lvl-96 Sniper. He had managed to collect a few Field Manuals in fishing, a custom activity of the server. When used by a player, manuals give 3 times more XP for 30 minutes. Although J seemed less confident than T, he said he started playing RO in 2006 on RuRO, the official Russian server. He gave spontaneously several items to other guild members. J and T talked quite much together in the guild chat. IRL, J was a 19-year-old Russian who worked in a call-center. He found his job boring and managed to play at work.
A was recruited after J. He was a lvl-90 Monk, a quite complex class combining support and high damage attacks. He was a basic member of the guild but talked a lot with J and T when he was connected. Each of them gave advice about where to XP or which equipment to get. He said he started playing on several euRO free-trial accounts in 2004, and tried another private server later. He looked quite unexperienced. IRL, he was a 19-year-old German working in a call-center as well (but not playing at work). When they realized through the guild chat that they were all the same age and two of them had the same job, they enthusiastically sent Facebook invitations to each other.
B was a lvl-96 Rogue recruited last. Rogues are a mixed class between Assassin and Hunter. B was not connected at that time.

In the other guild, the guild master was a quite experienced lvl-98 Hunter very in view on the forum. He had, among others, argued that the custom items provided by the administrator were balanced while another player thought they were not. The second player in the guild was a cheerful Bard, a support and/or high-attack version of Hunter. I was enrolled by him in the guild, and he even asked if I needed any piece of equipment. During week days, they were never connected before 5pm, I concluded they worked or went to school. Most of the time they were connected, the guild chat stood silent. When they happened to speak, it was in German to each other and out of the guild chat. Later, the Bard added that the 25-rate server opened following the wipe of a high-rate server. Maybe they knew each other before the low-rate server opened?

Server features

The capital city was Prontera. @go was given to players, but not @storage or @warp; this meant players had to go back to the capital to go where they wanted or use their storage. In my opinion, this increased the frequency of little social events that happened in the capital between players. The custom NPC were those usually found on any private server; they were:

  • The Warpra teleports players wherever they want for free. This solves the problem of long and boring transportation time when there is no player to teleport other players to their destination.
  • The Healer heals players and solves the scarcity of support-class avatars who, most of the time, need a group to XP quickly.
  • Stat and Skill Reseter: resets the avatar skill and stat points. If a player wants to change his character build (eg from a Support Paladin to a Tank Paladin), she can.
  • Job Master saves players the time to do job changing quests.
  • Banker, Identifier, Bonus skill giver (to save time to the player), Universal Renter (for Cart, Falcon or mount)

There was also a Kafra Employee that lets the player save his respawn point when dead or open his storage, but this is an NPC found on official servers as well. A vending zone had been added as well where Merchants could set up their shops, but the server population was too small to have any virtual economy. The guild versus guild event, the WoE, was supposed to happen twice a week but was deactivated by S, the administrator of the server, probably because there were not big enough guilds.

S was German, although his advertising for the server on RMS mentioned the server and forum language was English. He came on the forum once or twice a day to reply to suggestions or technical problems with the game. He did not harass players for votes or donations, and stayed remarkably quiet. In the game, his player account was the Monk A. As a Game Master, He never improvised any live event for the players. Technically, he designed and coded his own website and control panel, manipulated client-side files, added and edited a few small NPCs in the game, tried (and failed...) to balance his custom items (eg the fishing rewards) but never seemed to have modified the server source code.


Certainly, the players from this private server had different origins (Russia, Germany, France, US) and had different gaming expertise. However, all the players were all males of the same age (16-25) and had all tried official servers and/or private servers before. They all played solo but their belonging to a guild showed they wanted to socialize with other players. Alone Together.

This private server had several custom hats. They all required grinding at least a hundred items, and rewarded the player with unbalanced items (eg inflicting +12% damage on other players). Somehow, it was too easy, but players did not seem to see it this way, or at least they did not complain about it - for now... I doubt the administrator had the community management, game design, programming, and graphic skills required to make his server grow as much as he would like to, but I am sure he had the will. Private server administrators are a particular kind of consumer of MMOG company's products - they use the game client. Of course, this is an illegal activity, or maybe a not-yet-channeled activity. MMOG companies could choose to design their games and pay attention to these determined and skilled consumers. They could be included in the product community as content contributors.

07 September 2010

Feeds I follow v2

Back in January, I made a list of the 200+ feeds I was following. Time to update it. Reading all of the 200+ feeds took me too much time and I could not keep up with the reading every day, so I am now down to 99 feeds. I am open to any suggestion :-)

Burning NorthCenter for Computer Games & Virtual Worlds
flickeringcolours v2Game Balance Concepts
Mitu.nuTeaching Game Design
The LudologistLudicwrath | Exploring Ludology
Penny ArcadeVirtual Shackles
Game Design AdvanceLook In The Air
Metaverse LawScienceDaily: Video Game News
ScienceDaily: Virtual Reality NewsVirtual Economy Research Network
AntipwnBroken Toys
Elder GameGame Design Aspect of the Month
Mobhunter.comTradeskill Perspectives
Virtual GunmenWolfshead Online
Derek's Blog on Games, Home Theater and ProgrammingMeasuring Gameplay - article
Of Course I'll Play It!Psychochild's Blog
Scott Hartsman - Off the RecordT=Machine - MMOG development
Double BufferedGaffer on Games
Gamasutra Feature ArticlesGamasutra.com - Expert Blogs
Game AI for DevelopersGameDev.net - Latest Articles and Columns
JakeWorld!PlayNoEvil Game Security News & Analysis
Kotaku: TopMassively
The Escapist : ColumnsCreating Living Online Worlds
A ding worldBlessing of Kings
Stropp's WorldThat's a Terrible Idea
The Border HouseThe Pink Pigtail Inn
Uploads by TheDoddlerGame in Society
Games and Culture OnlineFirst ArticlesGames and Culture recent issues
Many-to-ManyPARC PlayOn 2.0
Psy et Geek ;-)Terra Nova
The Psychology of Video GamesVirtual Cultures
Eating BeesEmergent Future
Massive Guys on Massive GamesNerfbat
The Mod Squad. Blog.Chungking Espresso
Critical DistancePopMatters: Moving Pixels
The Brainy GamerDernières actualités business - JeuxOnLine
edge online keynotesGamesIndustry.biz - News
A Tree Falling in the ForestGame Tycoon
MMO TidbitsReality Panic
Virtual Goods InsiderFluxblog
The Big PictureApplied Game Design
SirlinClick Nothing
FullbrightGame Design Aspect of the Month
Game of Designihobo
Lost GardenMagical Wasteland
Mike Darga's Game Design BlogOnline Alchemy
Pixel Popperspost-hype
Raph's Website - Game talkThe Bottom Feeder
Information Is Beautiful

06 September 2010

Bowling Bash build

EDIT: This is a pre-RENEWAL build, but it might still be worth it in Renewal :-)

The name of this blog, Bowling Bash, comes from the eponymous Ragnarök Online Knight skill. Here is how to build a BB Knight (or LK). I am not an expert BB LK, but I used to play it a lot in WoE (guild versus guild events) and in small PvM parties. For PvM or leveling, the build is either STR(+DEX)+Spear Stab (you will need potions or a Priest) or AGI+Quicken (little DEX or Heal needed). To my mind, the trickiest and most interesting builds are those for WoE. Below are a few build possibilities; I suggest you adjust and try them so that you find the one that fits your needs perfectly.


- Easier to get Harder to get
Sword Blade or Saber (3slot) with Hydra and Skel Worker cards Sword Guardian Card(s) on a slotted Executioner (quest) or Schweizersabel (should be surprising against Unfrozen armors)
Spear Pike or Trident (3slot) with Hydra and Skel Worker cards Brocca, Assaulter Spear (obtained in the Battlegrounds), or Glorious Spear (most recommended, obtained in the KVM Battlegrounds).
Top Head Helm, Bone Helm or Magni's Cap (combo with Odin's Blessing and Stone Buckler), Grand Peco card Feather Beret (quest), slotted Alice Doll with Vanberk Card or Giant Majestic Goat (from the Sealed Shrine quest)
Middle Head Geek Glasses, Fin Helm or Evil Wing Ears Slotted Sunglasses (temporary quest) with Vanberk or Maya Purple Card or Robo Eye (custom or temporary quest?)
Low Head Gangster Mask or Iron Cain Pirate Dagger (temporary quests) or Well-Chewed Pencil (Back to school quest)
Shield Shield, Mirror Shield or Stone Buckler with Thara Frog Card (if one-hand weapon) Valkyrja's Shield with Thara Frog Card (if one-hand weapon)
Armor Full Plate or Odin's Blessing with Pecopeco Card or Picky Card Valkyrian Armor or Glittering Jacket with Ghostring, Evil Druid or Marc Cards
Garment Muffler, Manteau or Wool Scarf with Raydric Card Pauldron, Diabolus Manteau or Nydhorgg's Shadow Garb with Raydric Card, or Asprika
Shoes Boots or High Quality Sandals with Matyr or Verit Card Greaves or Diabolus Boots with Firelock Soldier or Ice Titan Card, or Variant Shoes
Accessories Ring with Mantis Card Megingjard


STRbuffed, try to reach a 10 threshold (eg 84+26, 99+31 or 55+105)
VITbuffed, try to get 100 (eg 82+18 or 92+8) to gain Stun and Silence immunity
DEXaim for an even number (eg 78+32) to get HP bonus; the more, the higher chance to hit your enemy
AGIwhat is left; the more, the faster you can launch BB

Below are several build examples. They are just build styles/aspects, as you will have to adapt them to your gear, whether you want to use food buffs, etc. In parentheses are the bonus points for Lord Knight job level 70.

typeSTR (+15)AGI (+8)VIT (+8)DEX (+9)
High DEX, low STR, needs 2 Megingjard35408297
6x STR, likely to use a Megingjard67418575
High STR, could avoid using any Megingjard97128356
Not using any VIT food78319261